Effect of milk and whey on proliferation and differentiation of placental stromal cells

Boga B., Akbulut M., Maytalman E., Kozanoglu I.

Cytotechnology, vol.75, no.5, pp.391-401, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 75 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10616-023-00585-z
  • Journal Name: Cytotechnology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.391-401
  • Keywords: Differentiation, Mesenchymal stem cell, Milk, Proliferation, Whey
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Fetal bovine serum (FBS), which is widely used in cell culture media, has the potential to cause medical and ethical problems. Here, an experimental study using milk or whey proteins containing essential nutrients and growth factors is presented to limit the use of FBS in cell culture media produced for cell and tissue regeneration. Study groups were formed by culturing human placenta mesenchymal stem cells, known to have high proliferation and differentiation capacity, with milk or whey solution at increasing concentrations, alone or in combination with FBS. Osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation capacities of proliferating cells were observed in FBS, milk or whey groups. Milk, whey or FBS groups obtained in P3 and after differentiation were separately analyzed for protein mRNA expression by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 (FGF2), Octamer-binding Transcription Factor 4 (OCT4), Bone Morphogenetic Protein 6 (BMP6), and adipogenic differentiation marker Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma (PPARG) were analysed by RT-qPCR. Proliferation was more pronounced in FBS alone and in its combinations with milk-whey compared to the groups in which only milk and whey were used. OCT4 mRNA and FGF2 mRNA expression decreased in differentiated cells. BMP6 mRNA expression increased with osteogenic and adipogenic stimuli. As expected, PPRG expression also increased with adipogenic stimulation. With this experimental study, evidence has been obtained that milk or whey can provide nutritional support to the culture media of repair cells and preserve the functional capacity of the cells, with a slightly more limited capacity than FBS. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]